Synapse-specific expression of mu opioid receptor long-term depression in the dorsomedial striatum

Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 29;10(1):7234. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-64203-0.


The dorsal striatum is a brain region involved in action control, with dorsomedial striatum (DMS) mediating goal-directed actions and dorsolateral striatum (DLS) mediating habitual actions. Presynaptic long-term synaptic depression (LTD) plasticity at glutamatergic inputs to dorsal striatum mediates many dorsal striatum-dependent behaviors and disruption of LTD influences action control. Our previous work identified mu opioid receptors (MORs) as mediators of synapse-specific forms of synaptic depression at a number of different DLS synapses. We demonstrated that anterior insular cortex inputs are the sole inputs that express alcohol-sensitive MOR-mediated LTD (mOP-LTD) in DLS. Here, we explore mOP-LTD in DMS using mouse brain slice electrophysiology. We found that contrary to DLS, DMS mOP-LTD is induced by activation of MORs at inputs from both anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortices as well as at basolateral amygdala inputs and striatal cholinergic interneuron synapses on to DMS medium spiny neurons, suggesting that MOR synaptic plasticity in DMS is less synapse-specific than in DLS. Furthermore, only mOP-LTD at cortical inputs was sensitive to alcohol's deleterious effects. These results suggest that alcohol-induced neuroadaptations are differentially expressed in a synapse-specific manner and could be playing a role in alterations of goal-directed and habitual behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / cytology
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / genetics
  • Synapses / genetics
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Opioid, mu